[Brandy Station, Virginia]
February 3rd 1864
As I could not say all I wished to on the other sheet, I will try it again. Last it began to thunder and lightning very hard and continued for three hours. While it did so, we had a very hard hail and rainstorm. The hailstones were as big as a pea. I was afraid it would knock all our tents to pieces but we were lucky enough to escape although some were blown down. Today it has cleared away again and it is very cold. The mud is very deep. I was over to the station today and the mud is very near knee deep. Teams are stalled all along the road.
Captain A. J[udson] Clark has gone to Washington with Lieut. Clark’s wife to spend two or three days. That is the way with a soldier’s wife. While the soldier is away, anybody else will do—especially if his name in Benjamin.
Father, we expect to get paid next week and then I will send you the whole or part of the balance to pay for the lot. But I would rather you would wait a little to get that deed recorded. There will be a great time pretty soon from a quarter you do not expect.
The last of our boys returned [from Veteran’s furlough] this afternoon. They are five days behind. There will be nothing done with them. I have a great deal better appetite today. I can eat pork and hard tack with a relish.
Father, I don’t hear so much about Richmond being evacuated and the Rebels I see are reenlisting as fast as we are. But we will give it to them this summer. I am not frightened yet or never was, for our side is right and God is with the right, and right must win. Peter Van Duyne is back to the Battery and wishes me to write a letter for him so I will have to close. He has not been in the Newark Hospital as I was told. He has not been farther than Alexandria.
Joe Bosoly has reenlisted. I hope Mary is well and all the rest. Give my love to all while I remain your affectionate son, — C. Van Houten
Please take charge of the note. Please send me some postage stamps. I forgot them. — C. V. H.